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Liverpool Sound City 2013: Martin’s Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 14th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

Martin’s high-res photos from the Thursday can be viewed on his Flickr.

Acts of the day: Moongaï, Findlay, The Oreoh!s (known now as the Orielles as of 26/11/13)

Venue of the day: Kazimier Gardens

It wasn’t until the final night of Liverpool Sound City 2013, whilst tramping up Seel Street for the umpteenth time that weekend, that I had a flash of the blindingly obvious: that people other than music fans are allowed to party in this area of the city as well! The past couple of nights had seen the handful of parallel streets that accommodate the countless music venues which form the heart of LSC13 dominated by so many wristband-toting musos that it was easy to forget that regular Liverpudlians on their well-deserved Saturday night shindig were permitted to use the facilities as well. What they made of the invasion of the weird, wild and wired LSC13 crowd was unclear, but none seemed uncomfortable in the others’ company. From established acts with nothing to prove, via young bucks seemingly teetering on the brink of stardom, to those dipping their toes in the waters of showcasedom for the very first time, such was the quality on offer that one could stick a pin in the LSC13 poster and have every confidence that the randomly-chosen act wouldn’t disappoint. Each person’s itinerary is by definition decided as much by practicalities, happenstance and opportunity than judicious planning, and as such is simply a snapshot of the event as a whole rather than any attempt to unravel the latest and greatest. With that caveat in mind, here’s my take on the Thursday:

Nateley's Whore's Kid Sister Liverpool Sound City 2013

Any thought of easing in gently is discarded in favour of a powerful punch in the ear courtesy of fellow Tynesiders Nateley’s Whore’s Kid Sister (@NWkidsister). Shorn of the stocking masks they were wearing last time I saw them, but lacking none of their previous raw power, Nateley’s deliver an uncompromising set perfectly summed up by their “alternative sludge” bio description. As subtle as slamming your hand in a car door. [Probably one of the weirdest names for a band since Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head too – Ed.]

Moongai Liverpool Sound City 2013

For some light relief, the first trip to the Kazimier Gardens for Moongaï‘s (@moongai) baroque mélange of idiosyncratic Gallic pop. They’re all in retro fancy dress, the music heavy with that combination of style, eccentricity and camp that the French excel at. Eva whoops beautifully over the band’s electronica-tinged upbeat pop; by the time she has scampered through the entire audience, exhorting them to ever higher levels of appreciation and excitement through a loudhailer, everyone is bemused and captivated in equal measure. Brilliant, original, bonkers.

Findlay Liverpool Sound City 2013

Findlay give great show. There’s a fine, guitar-heavy performance from the band, with particular mention to the gentleman guitarist who gamely attempts to compete with his vocalist for the audience’s indulgence. But it would be inaccurate of me to say that very much attention was paid to anyone at all but the eponymous lead singer. Attired in a skinny, clingy leopard skin dress, gyrating and emoting for all she’s worth, Findlay the band are essentially a vehicle for the lead singer’s stage presence. Her voice drips with ’70s new wave punk attitude; recent single ‘Your Sister’ showcases it perfectly: a bitter slice of pop rock, its fiercely snarled refrain demonstrating just how much potential this young act have. In Findlay we may be witnessing the emergence of a genuine rock star.

Reverend and the Makers Liverpool Sound City 2013

Reverend and the Makers are received with rapturous applause, and Jon McClure unashamedly bathes in it, acting for all the world like God’s gift to rock ‘n’ roll, rather than a paunchy Yorkshireman in his thirties. After a brief meeting earlier in the day, he seems like a delightfully down-to-earth chap, who just happens to be held in a position of adulation by a certain type of laddish crowd previously entertained by Oasis and their ilk. This reviewer is far too much of a music snob to be able to enjoy this sort of thing: the songs are all pretty basic, formulaic affairs, and the whole shebang would have little appeal if it weren’t for McClure’s irrepressible personality. Everybody bounce!

AlunaGeorge Liverpool Sound City 2013

BBC Sound of 2013 alums AlunaGeorge are the great new hope of mainstream British urban music, and their live show just about keeps that optimism on track. Aluna Francis has as good a voice live as on record, and the band are highly competent; one might hope for a little bit more soul in the performance, but no doubt that will come with time.

The Oreohs Liverpool Sound City 2013

Next up are one of the most surreal and surprising acts of the festival: The Oreoh!s hail from Halifax and trade in delightful 3-minute punk-pop ditties which sound far more mature than their age would suggest. Did I mention their age? They barely look old enough to have taken their GCSEs, let alone be knocking out some very cool songs at midnight at a music festival. I know appearances can be deceptive, but there’s no way any of them would get served for a much-needed post-gig beer without proffering ID, poor things. The natural conclusion is: if they’re this good at such a tender age, where will they be in a couple of years? Ones to keep an eye on.

The Kill Van Kulls Liverpool Sound City 2013

As if to prove the fickleness of the music biz, Manchester’s The Kill Van Kulls bring their intelligent, well-honed set of catchy, poppy, guitar epics to a mere handful of people. They were admittedly ear-splittingly loud for such a small venue, but still it sticks in the throat a bit, with memories of the Makers’ enormo-rabble fresh in the memory – the KVKs are leagues ahead in the musical department. Still, the band give it their all, with guitar histrionics aplenty. I need to see them again, in a proper venue, and a proper crowd, which is presumably what they get most other days of the week.

Bastille Liverpool Sound City 2013

Rumours abound that Bastille is full to capacity, but the opportunity to catch the man of the moment is too good to pass up, so I took a chance and headed over. Even though the room was busy, it wasn’t full – shame the same couldn’t be said for the photo pit, which was rammed with photographers trying to catch that iconic shot which could propel them out of a sweaty pit and into the catwalks of the South of France. The crowd are pretty mad for the well-crafted pop, which catches just enough of the zeitgeist to be cool, but is traditional enough to appear unthreatening to enough people to fill a sizeable venue such as tonight’s disused car park. Bastille Dan takes it all in his stride, despite his trademark gravity-defying hairstyle taking a beating. A competent performance, but I still prefer the record.

Tired of foot and exhilarated of brain, a quick peek into the delegate after party at the Epstein Theatre reveals – in amongst the scattered bodies of industry heads and liggers who’ve indulged in one too many sweet sherries throughout the evening – the final gem of the night. MiC LOWRY (pictured at top) are a five-piece self-described “boy band” who trade in the sweetest harmonies this side of the Jackson 5. Cast in the classic mould of an act like Boyz II Men, for a few brief numbers the Epstein is alive with buttery-smooth soulful sounds from these five cheeky Scouse lads. They’re so eminently ripe for the plucking by a Cowell-style ‘mentor’, you can almost s the X-Factor breathing down their necks. One can only hope they get proper, sympathetic advice that sees them grow their career in a steady, long-term fashion, rather than chewed up and spat out by the industry machine; the world needs to hear MiC LOWRY.

 

Liverpool Sound City 2013: John’s Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 13th May 2013 at 3:00 pm
 

Header photo by TGTF Head Photographer Martin Sharman

The weekend of sun, and brand spanking new music in Liverpool for Sound City was kicked off for me with somewhat of a whimper. The first band I stumbled upon were in the Academy of Arts, a local Liverpudlian band of rogues called Broken Men, who wouldn’t have looked amiss in their attire on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean. The tunes are solid, if a bit unspectacular and the band are not helped by the sound problems which dog the short set.

Their bearded frontman could do a little more to try and egg the crowd on instead of standing lazily affixed to his microphone, affixing his gaze firmly on the back of the venue. The raw materials of a good zest were there though, as musically they were tight and the tunes managed to attract some veneer of a crowd. A little more heart though, from these Broken Men, is needed next time. (6/10)

A stark change of scenery followed, as attention turned to the Cathedral, where Noah and the Whale were playing their headline set. Mary will give you her take on that portion of the night here.

To close the evening it was the turn of TGTF’s good friend Jon McClure, aka The Reverend, of Reverend and the Makers (pictured at top). Standing at a formidable 6’7” he strikes an imposing figure as he struts with ‘swag’ (bleugh, sorry I said that) across the Arts Academy stage with the venue swelling o capacity with music fans and local revellers all mixed in with each other.

Gone is the usual decorum of these gigs at festivals like Sound City and the pure lad rock excitement that a Reverend and the Makers gig brings comes over everyone who beholds it. As the reverend conducts his sermon from the alter every hit is busted out to a raucous reception, with the best saved for ballad-come rip-roarer ‘No Soap in a Dirty War’. Standout single Heavyweight Champion is, as expected, brilliant with McClure seeing the audience worked up into a frenzy of bouncing, bobbing bodies.

As the band leave the stage there is a genuine yearning for more from the crowd, they don’t want the man whose every word they’ve hung on for the last 90 minutes to leave the stage in front of them, and who can blame them. He may be abrasive and a bit rough on the edges, but the man emits charm in absolute swathes and as a live performer, he never disappoints. (9/10)

 

Liverpool Sound City 2013: Mary’s Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 13th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

As it happens on the Tuesday at SXSW, Thursday at Sound City could be said to be the ‘ease-in’ day of the 3-day festival, with less mental scheduling across Liverpool. Admittedly, I took the easy route compared to John and Martin, as you will read below. Howeveer, before we tried to do anything, we had TGTF tapas and drinks powwow, which ended up being pretty cool, as Reverend and the Makers were assembled at the next table over, and Jon McClure, having recognised me from SXSW, came over to say hello and give me a hug, after which I introduced him to John and Martin, John being a bit starstruck having seen the Rev and co. play at Guernsey Live years ago. I often say that SXSW is one of the best places I go to where I am bound to run into people I know, but when I’m in Britain for things like this, the probability quotient goes way up!

By the Sea Liverpool Sound City 2013

The TGTF crew then separated for the start of the festival evening. My first port of call was the Anglican Cathedral, a venue I’d not been able to visit last year for Sound City 2012. My first band of this year’s festival was the Wirral’s By the Sea. I was sort of expecting another MGMT retread with a band with a synthesiser, but what I got instead was more of a softer Bombay Bicycle Club with not so obvious keyboards. As a local band, it was great to see they had lads of local support. Maybe all they need is a little more oomph, more stage presence? Watch live video of the band performing fab single ‘Eveline’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKToffGzHEU[/youtube]

Noah and the Whale do not come over to America very often, or DC for that matter. So while to many of you it may seem odd that with TGTF’s indie-centric roots, we would pay attention to a band like theirs, who have already made great strides here in Britain, being part of the ‘folk pop is more mainstream’ movement. But they’re such a live rarity to me, I couldn’t not go. I’ve given some reviews of the festival a cursory glance, and several seem to make great pains to emphasise that they all expected this show in a church to be an acoustic one. Why would you ever think that? Have you ever seen this band live? Or recently? While the requisite Oriental rugs were wheeled and rolled out ontage, this was like any other Noah and the Whale gig I’ve been to. (All of two. I know. Depressing, isn’t it?) Rocking and full of life. (Granted, they did have a four piece, all-female string section that made a couple appearances in their set. But still. Come on!)

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral vicar

This portion of the show was prefaced by the cathedral’s own very jolly vicar coming out and saying a few words to the audience, starting with the mere fact that we should have expected a sermon, having come into a place of worship. He was quick to point out Noah and the whale pictured in the church’s stained glass windows (no surprise there, obviously), stating that it was as if the cathedral had been built and had been waiting for this moment for a long time. The vicar also didn’t miss a beat when a punter shouted, “religion sucks!”, to which he responded with a smile, “thank you!” (Snort.) Then the show was underway. As a nearby punter astutely pointed out, primary songwriter Charlie Fink seems to have a continuing preoccupation with the passage of time (see new song titles ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Now is Exactly the Time’, plus new single ‘There Will Come a Time’) and I’ve wondered if he’s still carrying a torch for former famous flame Laura Marling, as there are definitely wistful, nostalgic moments in their just released new album ‘Heart of Nowhere’ (reviewed here by Carrie).

Noah and the Whale Liverpool Sound City 2013

It’s tough selling a new album that most everyone hasn’t heard (well, I guess, unless you’re a cheeky / cheap pirate), so it’s no surprise songs from ‘Last Night on Earth’ (my favourite album of 2011) like ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’ and ‘Give It All Back’ along with perpetual crowd pleaser ‘5 Years’ Time'(turning into the evening’s loudest singalong) went over the best of all. Still, Noah and the Whale proved that they’re a fun band live and they can bring in loads of people to a venue, it’s just that fans will have to heard ‘Heart of Nowhere’ a couple times properly before they’ll get the right kind of crowd reaction they deserve. Watch ‘Blue Skies’ from ‘First Days of Spring’ and ‘Waiting for My Chance to Come’ from ‘Last Day on Earth’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhH1bS3IKTU[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIeqdRAYpNs[/youtube]

Noah and the Whale Set List:
Give a Little Love
Tonight’s the Kind of Night
Blue Skies
Heart of Nowhere
Waiting for My Chance to Come
Give It All Back
There Will Come a Time
All Through the Night
Love of an Orchestra
Old Joy
Now is Exactly the Time
Lifetime
5 Years’ Time
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
//
First Days of Spring

From the Anglican Cathedral, John and I left and moved swiftly eastward, following what looked like a mass exodus towards…the Zanzibar. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have bothered, but I thought, when in Liverpool, what the heck. Let’s see if we can blag our way in with our press passes. Who were we trying to see? The 1975, of course. Unfortunately, and as I had rightly predicted earlier in the day, the place was way too small for the crush of people who were trying to get in and as a result, well before we arrived, the Zanzibar was entirely rammed. There was a massive queue outside and even Martin couldn’t get in to see the band prior, Swim Deep. It was now one in, one out, and there was no chance in hell we were getting in. Luckily though, I had a contingency plan, and John and I headed to Wolstenholme Square.

As we approached the Arts Academy, I could have sworn it was a very loud PA system blaring a song that I recalled hearing on Lammo’s drivetime show on 6music. As we stood outside on the cobblestones, I noted it was so loud and distinct, I was sure it was a recording. Hmm, that’s sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Haha. It turned out we had arrived just in time for the end of Manchester’s Findlay wrapping up her set with the soulful words of ‘Your Sister’.

No, I wasn’t there for her. I had purposely brought John over to sell him further on the Reverend and the Makers’ live set. Having seen them at this year’s SXSW and been absolutely bowled over by the performance, I was positive this would be the set that would make us forget that we ever considered trying to get into the 1975 gig. And funnily enough, Jon McClure hilariously alluded to that other show happening at the same time, with comments that can’t be reprinted in a family newspaper. No matter. Everyone who was in the Arts Academy for the Rev was in good spirits, most probably hopped up on too much alcohol and was in the mood to party. Those of you who have met me know I’m small and that’s why I always queue early for gigs because I actually want to see the stage! So we started out down the front but an overexcited Liverpudlian bloke in a military jacket pushed me from the barrier and proceeded to slam his arm into my head so many times, I backed off from the barrier. Moshing was the order of the night and I was so thankful John, who towers over most other men and can puff himself up to tell others to back off, had my back. Thanks, John!

I was struck by how different this show in the UK was to the ones I saw at SXSW; totally mental, with the punters eating up every quip of McClure’s, such as how if he ever left Sheffield, he’d move to Liverpool in an instant. And would they have him? Did he even need to ask? ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’ fit perfectly alongside newer ‘The Wrestler’, and Also very funny was when McClure tried to do a tender version of ‘Sex with the Ex’, with just guitarist Ed Cosens accompanying him, were all the girls and boys yelling at him. The boys just wanted to egg him on; the girls wanted desperately for him to follow them on Twitter. (Oh, social media…) It capped off a nearly perfect evening, and the first in a 3-week holiday for me.

 

Update: Liverpool Sound City 2013

 
By on Friday, 1st March 2013 at 9:00 am
 

The city of Liverpool brought us The Beatles, it’s brought us Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, and they’ve been European Capital of Culture in 2008. It’s a city that just keeps on giving!

Now, what could they have next to give? Well, how does an incredible array of exciting new names for the UK’s first big festival of the year, Liverpool Sound City resonate within? Last year saw those 2012 Mercury Prize-winning scamps alt-J grace one of the festival’s many stages, alongside teenage sensation (who isn’t One Direction) Jake Bugg and Scottish indie rockers Django Django before each act went on to critical success, leaving punters in their wake drooling in earnest. Florence and the Machine, The Maccabees and Ed Sheeran performing at the festival early in their careers has simply added to the fact that Liverpool Sound City is a snapshot of everything that is vital in music right now.

So what stellar acts are set to grace the stages that so many of the UK’s top artists have begun their career on? Before the release their fourth album ‘Heart of Nowhere’ later in May, London folkies Noah and the Whale will be performing a special show in Liverpool’s spectacular Anglican Cathedral on the Thursday 2nd of May.

It is important also to remember that one of the things Sound City does best is showcase the best of the North. This year is no exception, with a trio of high-profile Manchester-based bands having been announced. Joining Noah and the Whale on the bill are Everything Everything, who are riding on the crest of a wave following the release of second album ‘Arc’. Their synth-driven indie pop will go delectably with the left-field math rock/pop of Dutch Uncles‘ new ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’. With their latest adventurous album ‘Collections’ failing to impress critics, Delphic will be hoping that some serious live shows can get them back in the public eye.

One band who are worth keeping an eye on in 2013 and who will coincidentally also be appearing at Sound City are Drenge. Their eclectic mix of punky blues, rock ‘n’ roll are sure to at least give you something to think about. Alongside the names I have mentioned, you’ve got Alessi’s Ark, Jetta, Bipolar Sunshine, Loom, Deep Sea Arcade, Blackeye, Skaters, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Wolf People, Splashh, Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs, Lulu James, Arcane Roots, Still Corners, Luls, Hands, Wild Smiles, Ian Prowse and Amsterdam, Mikill Pane, Bebe Black, Jacob Banks, Bo Ningen, Big Deal, Night Engine, Mind Enterprises, Golden Fable and Likely Lads.

Yep, I barely breathed there too. It’s a very literal orgy of British music talent and that’s not even mentioning that heavy hitters like Dexys, The Walkmen, Enter Shikari, Reverend and the Makers, AlunaGeorge, Thee Oh Sees, Mount Kimbie, Future of the Left, King Krule, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Darkstar and Toy, were already announced weeks ago.

So stop kidding yourself. If you want to be ahead of the times, don’t sit in your bedroom with your snapback on listening to bands on SoundCloud. Head down to Sound City! With a limited amount of £40 3-day wristbands available until the 2nd of March (THAT’S TOMORROW GUYS!) it’s best to get in early!

 

Preview: Liverpool Sound City 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 22nd January 2013 at 9:00 am
 

After the roaring success of our stage at 2012 that was headlined by the fantastic Temper Trap (you can read all about it here!, Liverpool Sound City is returning as officially the first festival of the year/festival season. If you’re hot for what’s new and want to be one of those in the know for 2013/2014 when it comes to new music, Liverpool Sound City really is where you want to be heading. Forget your Sound of whatever year it is, this festival will have all you need to plan which horse you are going to back. This year’s event will take place across Liverpool city venues from 2nd May to 4th May 2013.

Last year’s festival saw the now household names of alt-J, Jake Bugg and Django Django tear Liverpool a new one, well before the bands went on to become 2012’s hottest properties following their album releases. With over 350 bands appearing in over 25 venues across 3 days, the festival markets itself as “an exhilarating snapshot of all that is vital in music right now”. And we have to agree! At only £30 for a 3- day wristband and £80 for a 3-day delegate pass, it’s terrific value for money, especially with the sheer amount of bands you can see over the weekend.

The first batch of bands has been announced and leading the pack are Jon McClure’s motley bunch Reverend and the Makers, who will be touring in support of their record ‘@Reverend_Makers’, which is to be released in America on the 5th of March. Joining the Reverend are The Walkmen, a New York band who have recently released their sixth studio album ‘Heaven’,a mix of their indie rocking beginnings and their pop punk styling’s. Freaky as hell Egyptian Hip Hop will also be on the bill and their unique live shows, which have been described as ‘hit and miss’, are well not to be missed. Just keep your fingers crossed you catch them on a good day.

To complement the venerable cornucopia of music going on, there will also be a Q&A session with Tracey Thorn, who not only co-founded the Marine Girls, whose two albums became cult classics and then at university met Ben Watt and founded Everything But the Girl, she’s also just published her (I’ve been told brilliant) autobiography Bedsit Disco Queen about her very special career. She will be in conversation with DJ / writer Dave Haslam.

Alongside that you have some proper Heavyweight Champions of the World sales-wise; no, not Jon McClure again. It’s that wonderful home grown Liverpool boy (not Steven Gerrard, moans our editor Mary) Murph of the Wombats (pictured at top). The conference portion of the festival will be hosting a Q&A with the lead singer and the band’s manager Simon Bobbet, who has been with them since the band began.

So whether you’re an industry insider, a punter in need of some rockin’, or just a Liverpool local who wants to know what all the racket is, Sound City is back. Get your tickets now from the official Sound City Web site.

 

Interview: The Hummingbirds at Liverpool Sound City

 
By on Friday, 22nd June 2012 at 11:00 am
 

Interview by Larry Heath of www.theaureview.com
Reproduced by permission

Having the opportunity to catch them several times live at Liverpool Sound City, Larry managed to grab the members of Liverpool outfit The Hummingbirds (not to be confused with the 80s Sydney band of the same name) to talk about their shows, performing for the Queen, The Beatles, their music and much more…

Let’s talk about what you’ve been up to the last couple of days. You were saying you had never busked before and you busked for the Queen!

Yeah, so it’s a good start to busk for the Queen. We didn’t know it was busking until an hour before, we thought it was going to be a full stage with amps and lights and we got a call just saying it’s completely acoustic, just take your guitars and just play. We always talked about busking though, we thought it’d be a cool thing to do with harmonies and acoustic guitars, we’re good live, it’s not like we’re a studio band. We couldn’t cancel, we couldn’t cancel on the Queen so we just decided to do it, and we’ve been busking all weekend basically.

Well you played the opening party a month ago and at the industry party Wednesday night, so you definitely are sort of ambassadors, official or otherwise!

It’s a big festival, so it’s great that they actually picked us to do the opening party in London and the party in Liverpool. The roof-top show today was a one-off so that was brilliant.

Read the rest of Larry’s interview with the Liverpudlian band here: www.theaureview.com/interviews/liverpool-sound-city-the-hummingbirds-liverpool

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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